The Goat: great potential, huge disappointment

As you walk through The Goat’s entrance, a homey feeling immediately takes over. The aesthetics of the restaurant are a perfect blend of industrial design and your crafty mom’s kitchen, and with an open layout and huge windows lining the walls, you don’t feel the least bit cluttered.

If reviews were based on looks alone, The Goat would easily earn the full five stars; the cover of a book could be designed perfectly, but it’s the story inside that counts.

Pros of dining at The Goat

It didn’t take long to be seated. My waitress made it her mission to serve me efficiently and made sure I was pleased at all times. And by the looks of it, the other employees seemed friendly as well.

Known for their drink menu, The Goat offers a great selection of local craft beer and mixed drinks, and they even make the drink mixes and syrups in-house. Within seconds of being seated, my drink order was taken.

After trying both the great sweet potato stout from Tennessee Brew Works and The Goat’s signature drink, the Elder-Berry, which mixes vodka, strawberry preserves, freshly squeezed lime and a mint sprig, it was evident that this place really prides themselves on both the presentation of the drinks and their delicious taste.

As for the food options, the menu accommodates several different diets, allowing vegetarians and other diet-types more than just a salad. From the hearty burgers to the signature gluten-free Avocado Lime Salad and Herbivore Pizza — which contains pesto, mozzarella, crispy chickpeas, mushrooms, tomato, roasted red peppers, green peppers, banana peppers, red onion and crispy basil — every option sounded delicious.

The atmosphere of the place is extremely welcoming. The restaurant and pub often provides customers with live music. The night that I visited, The Goat featured a great two-man band who filled the air with bluesy-rock music, and they also have a nice patio that overlooks a volleyball court and pool if you’d rather eat outside.

It’s not too pricey, either. For two people you can expect to pay around $45 plus tip for dinner.

Cons of dining at The Goat

For my appetizer, I chose the tots, one of the menu’s featured items. The menu describes them as crispy, ranch-seasoned, shredded potato tots served with beer cheese. While the beer cheese was a perfect pair with the tots and tasted great, the tots were crispy on the outside but just mashed potatoes on the inside. They were more like a potato pancake than a tater tot.

I tried both the Veggie Burger, which is made from a black bean blend, guacamole, greens, tomato, cucumber and chipotle ranch sauce, and the signature Goat Burger with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, baby spinach and pesto aioli with sweet potato fries on the side.

Now, I’ve cooked a burger or two in my lifetime, and I know things happen in the kitchen, but it took over an hour to get two burgers done. When you’re hungry, that is a pretty long wait. (Side note: never get mad at the server over a long wait; they aren’t the ones cooking your food. They are there as the messenger between you and the kitchen, and you don’t shoot the messenger.)

When I finally got my food and took those first couple of bites, I expected thick, juicy burgers, but both burgers proved average with zero juiciness. They were dry and hard to put down without a drink. And as for the Veggie Burger, after the first three bites, it just tasted like refried beans, and I don’t like refried beans.

The sweet potato fries were decent, but they had zero crisp to them.

After an unnecessarily long wait, the food just became a huge disappointment. Maybe it was an off night in the kitchen, but The Goat didn’t give me a reason to return.

The place has great potential with their wide variety of food and drinks, great atmosphere and live music, and it could be a great eatery and perfect date night spot, but sadly, not this time.

On a star rating system, I would give The Goat three out of five stars.

Table Talk is a foodie’s paradise where you can find true, honest opinions on the most talked about places in town. For more Table Talk coverage, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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